Tucson Historic Sports Venues and Artifacts: 1A Football was once dominant in the Old Pueblo

Brian Chason and Paul Hatcher set state records for Tucson Christian on this field at Ft. Lowell Park. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)

There was a time when 1A or 8-man football was kind of dominant in the Tucson area. Tucson Deaf and Blind, now known as the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf And The Blind (ASDB), won a state title in 1976 under John Milford, Suffolk Hills, now known as Immaculate Heart, won a state title in 1982 under Steve Sorce and Patagonia won state titles in 1987, 1988 and 1991 under Bill House. The three programs have long given up football with ASDB combining forces with St. Augustine in 2009 for the last venture on the gridiron in the local area. Sorce went on to coach at Salpointe.


Tucson Christian is no longer a school and the team played games at Ft. Lowell Park and, although the Patriots never won a state title under Stephen Hair, important members of that program still hold multiple state records. Tucson Christian QB Brian Chason collected 94 career touchdown passes to put him second all-time for the 1A level and he threw for 6,408 career yards which is third in the state. His main receiver, Paul Hatcher, still holds the career receptions record with 221 catches, he is second all-time with 1,655 receiving yards in a season and he holds the state record for career receiving yards with 4,221 yards. Hatcher is second on the season TD catch list with 27 and his 72 career TD catches is still the best in the state.

This was the field where Suffolk Hills, now known as Immaculate Heart, played. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)

Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee and he earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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